Thanks Frank Torley

March 28, 2016

Veteran broadcaster and the man who for many was  the voice of Country Calendar, Frank Torley, has died.

Frank retired as the narrator on Country Calendar in February because of problems with his vocal cords. . . 

Frank helped on his uncle’s farm as a teenager and was employed as a stock and station agent.

In addition to his broadcasting career, Frank was a small-scale kiwifruit orchardist in the 1980s.

He also owned a lifestyle block in Rangitikei.

Frank was committed to the craft of television. He loved words, his family said. 

“He’d be on the road shooting stories, then spend hours in his home office tapping out scripts on his computer or setting up the next story over the phone.” . . 

The news comes just weeks after the well-loved New Zealand farming series turned 50 years.

After working on farms in his earlier years, Frank he joined a stock firm.

He was plucked from the Feilding saleyards to join the NZBC as a rural broadcaster.

That eventually led to a job on Country Calendar. He has remained with the show ever since.

Frank became producer in the early 1980s, a role he continued until 2006.

He then went back to his first love: back on the road directing programmes.

In 2014 and 2015, he narrated all the Country Calendar episodes.

 He as a wonderful broadcaster.

He made country life and work accessible and interesting  to people who never stepped foot on a farm without dumbing-down the subject.

In doing so he made a significant contribution to bridging the rural-urban divide.


Umberto Eco: 5.1.32 – 19.2.16

February 22, 2016

Italian author Umberto Eco has died:

Eco, who was perhaps best known for his 1980 work the Name of the Rose, was one of the world’s most revered literary names…

He was the 1992-3 Norton professor at Harvard and taught semiotics at Bologna University and once suggested that writing novels was a mere part-time occupation, saying: “I am a philosopher; I write novels only on the weekends.”

The Name of the Rose was Eco’s first novel but he had been publishing works for more than 20 years beforehand.

He discussed his approach to writing in an interview at a Guardian Live event in London last year. “I don’t know what the reader expects,” he said. “I think that Barbara Cartland writes what the readers expect. I think an author should write what the reader does not expect. The problem is not to ask what they need, but to change them … to produce the kind of reader you want for each story.” . . 

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Read prophets and those prepared to die for the truth, for as a rule they make many others die with them, often before them, at times instead of them.

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I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.

 


Glen Frey 6.11.48 – 18.1.16

January 19, 2016

Eagles guitarist Glen Frey has died.

. . . The Detroit-born Frey performed with groups in the Motor City area before he relocated to Los Angeles in the late Sixties, eventually living in an apartment with J.D. Souther, his partner in the short-lived Longbranch Pennywhistle, and singer-songwriter Jackson Browne. It was Souther who encouraged Linda Ronstadt, his girlfriend at the time, to hire Frey as well as three other artists – drummer Don Henley, bassist Randy Meisner and guitarist Bernie Leadon – to serve as her backing band during a 1971 tour. When the trek concluded, the Eagles were born.

A year later, the Eagles’ inaugural lineup released their 1972 self-titled LP, featuring the Frey and Browne-penned “Take It Easy” and the Frey-sung “Peaceful Easy Feeling.” Eagles, one of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, set the band on a trajectory toward being one of the biggest selling acts ever, a reputation that was cemented with the following year with the arrival of Desperado, featuring hit singles co-written by Frey like “Tequila Sunrise” and the title track.

Frey also had a hand in writing the Eagles’ “One of These Nights,” “Take It to The Limit” and “Lyin’ Eyes,” with the guitarist contributing lead vocals to the latter. The Eagles would reach their peak in 1976 with their landmark Hotel California, with the title track – penned by Frey, Henley and guitarist Don Felder – winning the Grammy for Record of the Year; “Hotel California,” like the album’s Frey, Henley and Joe Walsh-written “Life in the Fast Lane,” would become classic rock staples, and the LP itself would place Number 37 on Rolling Stone’s all-time list. . . 

The Eagles were one of my favourite groups when I was a student and I still like their music.


Being not doing

October 26, 2015

Good advice for a long weekend and beyond – relax, breathe and let go:


Maureen O’Hara 17.8.20 – 24.20.15

October 25, 2015

Actress Maureen O’Hara has died:

. . . O’Hara starred in the 1941 multi-Oscar winning drama, How Green Was My Valley, set in a Welsh mining village. She also regularly featured alongside John Wayne, in films such as the Quiet Man.

Born in Dublin, she moved to Hollywood in 1939 and later became a US citizen.

Obituary: Maureen O’Hara

“Her characters were feisty and fearless, just as she was in real life,” her family said in a statement.

“She was also proudly Irish and spent her entire lifetime sharing her heritage and the wonderful culture of the Emerald Isle with the world.” . . .

She also starred in one of my favourite childhood films – The Parent Trap.

 

 


Right to die is right to kill

June 5, 2015

Justice David Collins has ruled it is up to parliament to amend the Crimes Act to give doctors the right to help patients die without prosecution.

Lecretia Seales was unsuccessful in seeking a landmark High Court ruling to allow her doctor to help her die without criminal prosecution.

Justice David Collins released his judgment at 3pm which rejected her bid and said only Parliament can give her what she wanted. . .

Ms Seales died of natural causes at 12.35am this morning, just hours after her family and lawyers received the ruling.

The health of the 42-year-old Wellington lawyer with terminal brain cancer had deteriorated rapidly in the days since her court case last week where she was seeking a declaration that a doctor would not risk prosecution if they were to help her die.

Her family said they were “very disappointed with Justice Collin’s judgment. He found in our favour in relation to the evidence before him, but his interpretation of the purpose of the law meant he could not find aid in dying was available to Lecretia or inconsistent with the Bill of Rights.”

They added: “The judgment has starkly highlighted that the status quo is not ideal; that people are at risk of intolerable suffering and are at risk of ending their lives earlier than they would otherwise. Justice Collins was clear that it is for Parliament to address these issues. . .

The grief Lucretia’s family and friends will be dealing with will be compounded by their disappointment that the case which occupied so much of her final weeks was unsuccessful.

They might choose to honour her memory by campaigning for a law change.

None of us would choose to suffer nor to watch anyone we love suffer.

That suffering might not just be intense physical pain, it could be the loss of dignity which physical and/or mental deterioration can lead to.

But euthanasia is not just about people’s control over their own lives and deaths.

As I wrote on this issue six years ago:

. . . There might be a grey area now about pain relief which gets to the level where it could be fatal but there is a huge gulf between alleviating pain and deliberately killing someone.

If we ever consider our own mortality most of us would choose to die without pain and with all our faculties intact.

Life and death aren’t always that tidy and palliative care isn’t always optimal.

That is a very strong argument for better palliative care, not an argument for euthanasia. . .

Those arguing for euthanasia talk about the right to die.

Let us not forget that it would give doctors the right to kill.

UPDATE:

The judgement is here.

The family’s response to the judgement is here.


Own life sentence

June 5, 2015

The woman who admitted the manslaughter of her son after she left him in her car  has been discharged without conviction.

. . . Justice France was satisfied that the consequences of a conviction would be out of proportion to her culpability. . .

This is justice showing mercy.

The bereaved parents’ club is one no-one chooses to join.

It is against the natural order to outlive our children.

It is difficult enough to lose a child through no-one’s fault, it must be so much worse for a parent who, whatever the court says, will always blame herself .

This mother will be serving her own life sentence.

I hope everyone in the family has the love and support they need as they grieve and that in time they are able to accept that the best tribute to the child who died is to live, better and happier lives because he can’t.


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